Criminal Justice Reform

American Criminal Justice Policy

Daniel Mears
Professor of Criminology, Florida State University

Key Findings

  • Criminal justice policies fall well short of achieving the accountability and effectiveness that policymakers have advocated and that the public expects.

Description

American Criminal Justice Policy: An Evaluation Approach to Increasing Accountability and Effectiveness examines many of the most prominent criminal justice policies on the American landscape and finds that they fall well short of achieving the accountability and effectiveness that policymakers have advocated and that the public expects.  The policies include mass incarceration, sex offender laws, supermax prisons, faith-based prisoner reentry programs, transfer of juveniles to adult court, domestic violence mandatory arrest laws, drug courts, gun laws, community policing, private prisons, and many others.  Optimistically, the book argues that this situation can be changed through systematic incorporation of evaluation research into policy development, monitoring, and assessment.  To this end, the book provides a clear and accessible discussion of five types of evaluation—needs, theory, implementation or process, outcome and impact, and cost-efficiency.  And it identifies how they can be used both to hold the criminal justice system accountable and to increase the effectiveness of crime control and crime prevention efforts.

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